Our work in Laos
Sweden has supported Laos with development co-operation for more than 30 years. The projects and programmes that have received support have gradually been phased out up until 2011, with a special concern to do it in a responsible way. The ambition has been to find new partners for those that require continued support.
Sweden’s long-term development co-operation with Laos has been documented and analyzed so that Sida and other players can learn from the experience.
Environmental protection management for sustainability
Laos is rich in natural resources. Sweden has been working for a sustainable use of these resources, with people's the needs and rights in focus. This particularly applies to the poorest Laotians.
To create long-term sustainable development, Sweden has also provided support for building national research capacity, contributed to the development of an environmental protection agency as well as provided support to the environmental organisation IUCN. Work is also underway to implement a national strategy for the forestry sector.
No development without knowledge
Research is an important part of helping a country combat poverty. Statistics and scientific information are needed to make the right decisions.
We are supporting the creation of a national research system in Laos. University employees have the opportunity to study at a foreign university and can then pass their acquired knowledge and experience on to their universities in Laos.
Steps towards a more democratic society
The situation regarding human rights in Laos has improved. But many large deficiencies remain. Sweden has made several contributions to improve governance and to increase respect for human rights.
The National University of Laos, NUOL, has received support to create a legal institution. Competence among teaching staff has improved thanks to co-operation with Umeå University, while faculty management has also become better.
Another area that has received support is provincial radio. In a co-operation with Sveriges Radio, eight provincial radio stations have been given modern technical equipment, while reporters and technical staff received further training.
Roads to the market
Poor roads – or the complete lack of them – make it difficult for people in rural areas to meet their basic needs. Getting to the market, school or the hospital is a major worry for many.
Their daily lives could be made easier with better infrastructure.
We have therefore worked to maintain and expand the road network in rural areas. This operation was ended in 2010. The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and several bilateral players, especially neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and China, will continue to support the sector.
Better teachers mean better schools
There is a major lack of qualified teachers in Laos. Sweden has contributed to a higher level of education in the country by improving teacher training. We have also worked to improve the status of teachers and to improve the working conditions, particularly in the rural areas.